Machetes, the enormous quesadillas originally from Mexico City, are taking off in Austin. Essentially, they’re a gordita/quesadilla hybrid measuring around 12 to 24 inches. Made with a huge sheet of corn masa, machetes are loaded with cheese and fillings like campechano, squash blossoms, or even Hot Cheetos. The masa is then folded over, so it’s shaped like a machete blade - hence the name - and then it’s cooked and crisped up on a flattop. An entire machete is a lot for a single person - you’ll definitely want to bring a hungry friend or two along for the ride. Here are our favorite places serving them in town.
Machetes “Doña Leova”
It’s hard to miss Machetes Doña Leova’s trailer on North Lamar in the parking lot of Austin Appliance Rebuilders, what with the brightly colored, hand-painted lettering proclaiming they have machetes (as well as gorditas, huaraches, quesadillas, and burritos). The machetes here are nearly enough to feed two hungry people, and come with lime, radishes, cucumber, pickled red onions, and a spicy green chile. You can get different fillings, but we’re partial to the campechano here, as well as the shrimp one that comes with poblano, onions, cheese, and avocado. They also sometimes have birria here as a special - no consome though - but a birria machete is a pretty rare sight to behold (and also a delicious thing to eat).
photo credit: Nicolai McCrary
Autenticos Michoacaos has a wide menu of tacos, tortas, quesadillas, and just about anything else you can fit inside of a tortilla. This includes machetes, and the ones here are excellent - full of enough meat and cheese to fill half a dozen (or more) street tacos. They spend enough time on the griddle to really crisp up, getting almost firm enough to rival its namesake tool. We like the campechano, but we’re also pretty confident this is a “no wrong answer” situation when it comes to choosing fillings.
Casita Nicole Antojitos Mexicanos
If you want something you can finish all by yourself, you can get a “mini machete” for $6 at Casita Nicole, a trailer at a Texaco parking lot on Manchaca in South Austin. But the regular-size machetes here cost $10-$11. Whichever size you pick, they all come with white cheese and two fillings of your choosing, and you’ll find standards like pastor, campechano, or tinga. But they also have some ingredients you might not find at the other spots on this list, including huitlacoche and squash blossoms (sometimes they sell the flowers separately).
On the corner of Rundberg and Georgian Drive you’ll find Aparicio’s, a food truck with a bunch of covered picnic tables. Aparicio’s, which has been around since 2018, describes itself as “millennial & old school fusion cuisine.” This apparently means anything goes, from Hot Cheetos tacos (with Cheetos ground into the masa for bright red tortillas), over-the-top mangonadas, concha ice cream sandwiches, and burgers like the salchiburger (topped with sliced sausages and bacon). The machetes here are enormous affairs, so big that it’ll come on two plates wedged together. There are more creative fillings like the “pizzachete” (it’s got pepperoni), a Philly cheesesteak machete, or one with, yes, Hot Cheetos. But you can also get more standard options like their charcoal-grilled carne asada, al pastor with pineapple, chorizo, or campechano.
Taqueria Casita Vizuet
A few blocks south of Machetes Dona Leova on North Lamar, in the parking lot of the grocery La Buena Market, is Casita Vizuet. There are a few picnic tables underneath an awning with hand-painted lettering promoting things like pambazos, gorditas, huaraches, and machetes. The machetes here are huge - they claim to be 18 inches long. We didn’t check because we were too hungry to break out a tape measure, but that sounds about right. You can get two fillings in each machete, including pastor, barbacoa, and carnitas. And just like Casita Nicole, they have huitlacoche and squash blossoms. In case you’re still hungry, the machetes come with rice, beans, salad, and guacamole.